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October 16, 2021
Important. Read if you plan to RV in the years ahead!
Is our RV lifestyle doomed? A meaningful look at the long road ahead and the obstacles to overcome along the way
By Randall Brink
s we prepare to relegate the tumultuous year 2021 to history, we confront a sobering question: Is our RV lifestyle doomed? Is it sustainable? Is there hope for an RV future?
Since the Westward Migration that began in the colonial period and lasted well into the 20th century, America has been a nation on the move. Pioneers left the eastern coast and eventually spread the population all the way to the Pacific shores 3,000 miles west. We have never quit the trail, the road, or the interstate highway.
As technology and affluence matured, we created a lifestyle and an entire industry out of road travel – first automobiles and trucks, and then motor vehicles in which we could live. Though we generically refer to the industry and lifestyle as built upon “recreational vehicles,” or RVs, there is much more involved than recreation. More than one million people live full-time in RVs. More than 11 percent of U.S. households – 9 million – own an RV. Continue reading.
Now, listen to RVtravel.com coast to coast on SiriusXM radio
We are thrilled to report that RVtravel.com is now part of the SiriusXM radio family. Hear us every day of the week on the satellite network. SiriusXM’s platforms reach more than 150 million listeners across all categories of digital audio – music, sports, talk, and podcasts – the largest reach of any digital audio provider in North America. Short features by our own Scott Linden can now be heard every day of the week on Rural Radio channel 147. We’ll let you know about additional channels as they are added. To those of you who found us through SiriusXM in the last week, welcome!
JOIN CHUCK WOODBURY ON ZOOM
Beginning next week we will hold weekly Zoom meetings with our editors and special guests along with a panel of readers selected from our donors. A recording of the meeting will be available to readers of our free edition two weeks later. Next Saturday, RV Travel founder and publisher Chuck Woodbury will host a live meeting to talk about his history with this newsletter, the RV news media, and the state of RVing, along with special guests. Donors who join in can interact by chat with Chuck and his special guests.
Did you know …
… that more than 120 different manufacturers offer approximately 3,100 different makes/models and floor plans of travel trailers? Learn about them all here..
Headline stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Add hospital research to your RV travel plans… you’re going to need it
• Campground Crowding: A well-written grim look at the future, and an explanation: Why is it so bad?
• RV industry insider Tony Barthel previews the Ember Overland series trailers: a new name with family history
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more…
Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Financing or refinancing? RV loan calculator can give you the info you’ll need
• Don’t let your RV get blown over! Tips for getting ahead of the wind
• 6 unusual ways to use cupcake liners (no baking required) in and around the RV
• Don’t be stranded! This power pack starts vehicles and charges devices too
• Hairball snarls in the drain? Here’s help!
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Cruiser RV MPG 2550RB travel trailer. This trailer has one of Tony’s favorite floor plans, but how does it compare to similar rigs? Read the review to find out.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Do you prefer to read about RVing from real RVers or “content creators” who write by formula?
MOST CONTENT CREATORS HAVE NEVER EVEN STEPPED INTO AN RV
By Mike Gast
Have you read a travel story online lately and wondered, “Has the writer even been to this place?” The answer is likely “No.”
What you are experiencing is the advent of AI (artificial intelligence) content specifically written to drive search engine optimization (SEO) to drive crappy, monetized content to the top of Google search results. I know that’s a lot of acronyms. To boil it down, it means that a writer is sitting somewhere remotely (likely even in a foreign country) and cranking out content for you with the help of a piece of artificial intelligence software designed to include all of the words search engines look for to give the content a better SEO score.
You, the reader, are duped into clicking on the story, and the content creator makes money on the click. If you’re familiar at all with the subject of the travel article, you’ll also likely notice a lot of factual errors that often make the article total nonsense. And it’s not only travel content: it’s all content.
In most cases, the “writer/creator” of a travel article has no connection to the subject or place, has never been there, and wouldn’t know the place if you hit them in the head with a map.
My wife and I are longtime campers with tents, pop-ups, travel trailers, and now a small Class C as we enter retirement. About a week ago we became subscribers to RVtravel.com after seeing a YouTube video then reading the September 11 article “Pathetic quality: RV dealers are fed up with what manufacturers are producing.” Thank you so much for vindicating an experience we just went through. Continue reading about Jeff E’s close call.
New Feature: RV Consumer Support
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Since we began our RV Consumer Support section, we’ve heard from plenty of you. Some have asked for help – and we’re working on several cases now. But a lot of you just wanted to have a “get it off your chest” moment. As one RV dealer put it, “Pathetic quality” sums up the stuff that’s coming off most RV manufacturing lines. When you buy an RV, do you need an RV buyer’s inspection? Here are just a few comments from our readers.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Casino Camping: There are two types of casino “camping,” and more reader favorites
• Where are all the Black RVers? Why the outdoors isn’t as inclusive as you think
• 13 tips about work camping that will point you to success
• Does windchill affect RV water lines freezing when driving?
If Jeff Bezos invited you to ride on his next trip into space, would you accept?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.
The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletters:
How often, on average, do you get robocalls (spam calls)? Yikes! A lot! See the results.
You throw away the outside and cook the inside. You eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
Did I get scammed? I bought an RV sight-unseen and it had problems! A precautionary tale for buyers
By Karel Carnohan, DVM
The story about my plans to travel with 12 cats cross-country continues with twists and turns. I purchased a used 39-foot Class A toy hauler. My thanks to all of you who discouraged me from traveling with the cats in a towable. Last week I took delivery of my 2015 Newmar Canyon Star 3921. As a rather inexperienced buyer of RVs, I downloaded a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) checklist and thought I was prepared. I was buying this rig sight-unseen from a dealer’s ad on RVTrader.com. Continue reading.
Five important things to ask before you buy your next RV
Lemon Law attorney Ron Burdge has some very important advice for anyone who is in the market to buy an RV. He knows what he’s talking about after helping countless hundreds of RVers avoid financial disaster related to the purchase or use of a defective RV. Read more.
What to do if you smell marijuana at the campground. Can you complain? Can you partake?
By Nanci Dixon
If you smell a skunk in the campground, it may not be a skunk. Oftentimes the pungent smell of marijuana resembles that stinky animal. But is marijuana usage allowed in a campground? What are the rules? One reader, we’ll keep her name to ourselves, was not happy when she smelled the odor of marijuana while camping. She sent us an email and we decided to do a little investigating. Continue reading to learn all about pot in campgrounds.
No: Your RV’s outdoor LEDs are not cool, and they’re affecting your quality of sleep!
By Tony Barthel
We’ve all seen them – more and more RVs being manufactured are coming with ever-brighter exterior lights and, according to some studies, this is a problem. In fact, based on the results of some studies, it’s actually a rather significant issue. There were several studies I looked at for this article but my own empirical data is that I sleep better when it’s dark. It’s one of the reasons I like boondocking and camping in forests and other places where there isn’t a lot of light. Continue reading.
How to be an RVer YouTube celebrity.
It’s so unbelievably easy. If you have an iPhone and an internet connection you can make hundreds of dollars a month, or even thousands. You just have to start with a very simple technique. Here’s your money-making tip of the day.
Visit the two incredible highways in the U.S. that sing to you as you drive! It’s true!
By Gail Marsh
Call me a skeptic, but really? A highway that sings? Yes, it’s true! The original concept came back in 1995 when two Danish artists invented the Asphaltophone: a series of raised pavement dots spaced apart in varying intervals to create different sounds as a vehicle drives over them at a specific speed. In other words, orchestrated rumble strips. Learn more.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, October 16, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week three readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Deborah Butler of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Jacob Southward of Runnells, Iowa, and Randal Neubauer of Apple Valley, Minnesota.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
Popular articles from last week
• Why RV park owners don’t want every site occupied
• Canadian snowbirds find creative way to get RVs across the border despite it being closed
• RVers buy motorhome for $1. Then they light it on fire!
• Amazon invades RV manufacturing capital: Will RV workforce jump ship?
• Campground Crowding: Last week’s comment sparks debate: Are we campers or travelers?
• 6 unusual ways to use cupcake liners (no baking required) in and around the RV
• SpaceX Starlink for RVers: Where does it stand and when can you expect it?
• Are RVers responsible for poor quality RVs?
• Don’t let your RV get blown over! Tips for getting ahead of the wind
• Ask Dave: Will solar panels overcharge my batteries?
• Campground Crowding: Having an RV the size of a house is NOT camping
• Hubby wants to buy new RV; wife wants used. What’s an RVer to do?
• RV range saver
I fix a lot of RV ranges, and the space around the burners on the cooktop (for those that aren’t sealed) is often absolutely disgusting … full of spilled or burned food, and often mouse droppings … Yuk! Here’s a fix to make cleaning it easier: Line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil but DON’T cover over any of the holes on the sides! Make sure the foil is under everything, but the holes on the sides allow air to flow in for proper combustion. Once done, spillage into the burner cavity will be much easier to clean up … just pull out the foil and replace it.
Chris Dougherty, Certified RV Technician, posted this tip while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.
• Trailer brakes
Dexter, a leading manufacturer of trailer running gear, recommends repacking your bearings every 12 months, or 12,000 miles, even if you regularly add grease with bearing buddies. The old grease should be completely removed, and new grease packed by machine if possible. The brakes should be inspected and adjusted (unless you have Nev-r-Adjust brakes) every 3,000 miles, annually, or if performance dictates it is necessary. Make sure your trailer tires are at the proper pressure, and check for poor tread wear, cracks and damage. Take a quick look for broken or worn suspension parts, and have them looked at by your service person if you have any concerns.
• Lock care
Because RV locks are exposed to the elements and frequently sit unused for long periods of time, they will get sticky and corrode. A little fixing now will save time in the long run. All the locks and hinges on your coach should be lubricated. There are a few lock lubricants RVers can consider, and every locksmith has an opinion. At the top of the list are Houdini Lock Lubricant, Master Lock Lubricant and Tri-Flow PTFE. These are all available online from Amazon, Grainger and others. Many locksmiths will use WD-40, which is great for corroded locks. The only downside is, like a lot of oil-based lubricants, it will dry up and can gunk up the small moving parts, so reapplication is required. The first three lubricants will not do that, according to the manufacturers, as they are not oil based.
Did you know we publish a Full-Time RVer newsletter? It’s true! Read last Wednesday’s issue here.
How would you like to win a copy of RV Camping in Corps of Engineers Parks?
A guide to 644 campgrounds at 210 lakes in 34 states.
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (October 16, 2021) by 7 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via RVcontests@gmail.com that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.
Idea: Listen to the RVtravel.com podcast in bed before going to sleep. It will help relax you and promote sweet dreams.
“RVs: Who Makes What” – This is a new free directory from RVtravel.com which lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models. Learn more and/or download a free PDF copy.
Stolen RVs — Help us recover these stolen RVs. The more eyes we have searching for them, the better chance of getting them back to their rightful owners, and maybe putting the crooks who stole them in the slammer! See the stolen RVs.
Great websites. Check out our favorite websites of the day! We compiled a list of (almost) all the websites we’ve ever posted, and we update it weekly.
Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks. This is an ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers.
Best Club for RVers: Escapees. Click here to learn more or join. Endorsed by RVtravel.com.
Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
In case you’re on the road with your RV and the weather report is showing a tornado headed your way, have this list handy.
What does financing an RV for 20 years REALLY mean?
In case you missed this article the first time around, here it is again. Important! Click here.
Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club, a one-stop go-to online resource for RV enthusiasts. He is also the owner of Passport Media Creations, which has developed several RV dealer and safety training programs.
Can I run my roof AC on solar?
I have a 2004 Fleetwood Providence. What type of solar system would I need to use one AC and regular electric outlets to boondock for a week or so? I have 4 AGM 6-volt batteries now. Would I need to change them or get more? —Randy
Other questions Dave answered this week:
• What can be done about two AC units that are behaving badly?
• My gray water tank valve won’t open. Why not?
• Will solar panels overcharge my batteries?
• What is the best multimeter?
• Why do I smell sulfur in the shower and now in my ice?
Personal landmarks are important to visit; remember the best parts of your life
By Chris Epting
I love visiting historic landmarks. But as I get older I have also started visiting some “personal” landmarks that have helped shape my life. You know the places. Maybe a first date or a memorable ballgame. Where you became a witness to something great or even small. Where you learned to ride a bike. Or where you first fell off.
They may not have plaques or markers but personal landmarks represent our own histories, and if you go back once in a while and even document them, you might be surprised at their power. These are places where memories may still hang; memories that may trigger some strange emotional pulse that helps clarify or make sense of your life today. Continue reading.
with Mike Sokol
Should you upgrade to lithium batteries immediately?
I’ll be picking up a new Forest River Berkshire 45CA (45 foot diesel) from the dealer in a month or so. I am having him put 525 watts of solar on it. It’s prewired for 550. … My question is, can and should I have them put in lithium batteries right away so I don’t have to mess with it later when the stock ones go bad?
Read the rest of the question and Mike’s answer HERE, especially if you’re considering buying lithium batteries.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Should I buy an AED?
Since my husband has a heart problem, we’re concerned about what would happen if he had a heart attack at a campground. I don’t remember seeing an AED at any of the campgrounds we’ve visited lately. Is this something we can get ourselves? Can a non-medical person use one in an emergency? —Sally G.
Find out all about AEDs (automated external defibrillators) here.
RV Tire Safety
All about tow vehicle tire wear and TT tire inflation
Tire expert Roger Marble explains why tires wear differently when towing or not. He also explains the preferred tire rotation schedule, and how you can shorten travel trailer tire life by not inflating properly. You’ll learn lots of important information by reading this.
Operating an RV Park
Check-in/store is being built!
By Machelle James
From my view here, I can see two things happening outside my window. First and most exciting, I see construction happening. I can see a crew of guys outside – digging, spreading rock, installing plumbing and rebar. We are so thankful to announce that our Check-In/Store is FINALLY being built! … Continue reading about their upcoming plans.
RV Short Stop
Knife River Indian Villages, an amazing place of history!
By Nanci Dixon
When crossing the expansive Great Plains of North Dakota to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we stopped at Knife River Indian Villages in Stanton, North Dakota. This place is a must-see. Located in central North Dakota, 85 miles northwest of Bismarck, Knife River Indian Villages is part of the heritage of native tribes in the area and the home of Sakakawea (Sacagawea, Sacajawea), part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. While that does give it star appeal, of real interest was stepping back in time to a way of life now gone but, thanks to our National Park Service, not forgotten. Read more and see pictures by Nanci of this amazing place.
Easily create a space-saving pet nook in your RV
By Gail Marsh
Has Rover’s bed become a trip hazard in the RV? Does Kitty need a quiet place of her own inside your RV? Here are some suggestions on how to create a special place for your furry friend.
RV Fire Safety
Make sure your smoke detector works
Test your smoke detector regularly, and make sure all travelers know what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Recipe of the Day
Creamy, savory and super-satisfying – everyone is sure to enjoy this dish. I used fettuccine when tasting this dish because that’s what I had on hand. Everyone loved it! Grab a glass of wine and you have a perfect date night dinner!
Mmm… pasta. *drool* Get the recipe.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche
• Homemade shrimp gumbo from scratch
• Pork Loin Stuffed with Dried Figs and Apricots
• Pumpkin Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting
• “Souper” Potatoes Au Gratin
Museum of the Week
National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum
This is a great museum to explore for both kids and adults. Most of the museum is dedicated to what executive director Dave Brant calls “walk in their shoes” interactive displays. As a visitor you’ll take part in simulated emergency calls as a 911 dispatcher, you’ll try and establish a suspect’s identity through conflicting witness statements, and you’ll take a spin inside the training simulator, which places you in nerve-wracking scenarios that require split-second decisions. You’ll also see more than 800 historical artifacts (though the museum has more than 20,000 behind the scenes!), and some famous crime-scene items (such as Al Capone’s bulletproof vest). Learn more and plan your visit on the museum website here.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Holly is a rescue cat that has taken very well to camping and traveling. We have this shelf that attaches to the window so she can see out the window. She is often found sleeping and relaxing in it as well at watching people and sites.” —Mel Hartman
Think your kitty would be as comfy as Holly in one of these hammocks? Get your own here.
Vintage Postcard of the Week
Postcards owned by Colleen and Ed Weum, Pacific Northwest Postcard Club. Read more about their 90,000 postcard collection here.
We’re lucky to have the convenience of Google Maps or other mapping software built into our phones that scream at us as we trek down the highways. But what did we do before satellite GPS? In the early 20th century there weren’t any satellites or such things as in-dash car computers, so how did people get around? If you were a wealthy and fashionable driver, you may have had the Iter Avto. This was a black TV-like device that was mounted on the dash. The Iter Avto would hook up to gears in the odometer and would hold paper scroll-style maps that would advance (scroll) as you drove. If you made a wrong turn there was no “RECALCULATING” scream, as we all know well, but instead, you’d have to manually re-load all the scrolls. Yikes.
Word and Phrase Origins
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
have a field day. “Beginning in the mid 18th century the British army held field days featuring military exercises and display. The term soon was applied to outdoor gatherings such as picnics, and then to field days at schools devoted to outdoor sports and athletic contests in which winning was not as important as having a good time. From these last field days came the expression to have a field day, meaning to indulge oneself freely and successfully, to go all out, as in ‘the papers will have a field day with this story.'”
Laugh of the Week
Did you hear about the mummy who went camping? It was terrible. He didn’t make it out alive. Nobody told him camping required him to relax and unwind!
Leave with a song from the past
Hollywood’s answer to the Beatles
Enjoy the The Monkees “Daydream Believer” from the album “The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees” from 1968. Look at how young they were!
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
Does your supermarket give you free groceries?
No, you pay for them. You also pay for gas for your car. You pay for your garbage and electric service. You pay for a Netflix subscription. You pay your doctor. But only 4 percent of RVtravel.com readers — four out of 100 — pay to read this newsletter and the other 699 newsletters we publish each year. You’re in that very much appreciated 4 percent! Thank you! Non-donors may not realize that this is not a hobby for our staff. It’s our livelihood. About 15 people earn their full-time or part-time living from RVtravel.com. Yes, we sell some advertising. Yes, we earn a little from readers who purchase something through our Amazon affiliate program (thank you). But thank goodness at least some of you consider us important enough to help support us financially. Please ask yourself, is what you read here week after week worth more than FREE? If you haven’t contributed recently, would you please consider pledging a modest amount again to help us continue to provide you with quality, honest information about RVing that you will not find anywhere
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Chris Epting, and Sharon Still. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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